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Johnson v. City of Lakewood

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

February 8, 2017

BRENDA JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LAKEWOOD and J. MILLS, Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING CASE

          ROBERT J. BRYAN United States District Judge

         THIS ORDER is issued sua sponte by the Court following its review of the file and the issuance of its January 10, 2017 Order. Dkt. 41.

         (1) Filing of Joint Status Report.

         On January 10, 2017, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a Joint Status Report by February 6, 2017. Dkt. 41 at 5, 6. The Joint Status Report was initially due December 15, 2016. Dkt. 10. The Court reminded Plaintiff of the initial deadline, with no response from Plaintiff. Dkt. 31 at 3. The January 10, 2017 Order stated that “[t]he case will be dismissed for failure to prosecute unless Plaintiff files a Joint Status Report on or before February 6, 2017.” Dkt. 41 at 6.

         On January 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document entitled, “Objections, ” (Dkt. 42) which makes no direct reference to the January 10, 2017 Order. Plaintiff “Objections” filing does, however, make one reference to the Joint Status Report:

“Plaintiff nor Defendant submitted a joint status report because we didn't agree with stipulations. It would be bias and prejudicial due to the Defendant City of Lakewood Motion to Dismiss was not agreed upon by any of the parties in a stipulated order. The other parties didn't show up for Summons.[sic]”

Dkt. 42. At 2.

         Based on the January 10, 2017, Plaintiff's failure to file a Joint Status Report would be a sufficient reason to dismiss the case. Nonetheless, it appears that Plaintiff made some effort to file a Joint Status Report. It is not clear why Plaintiff contacted Defendant City of Lakewood, which has been dismissed from the case. Dkt. 41 at 6. Plaintiff's “Objections” filing mentions that “the other parties didn't show up for Summons, ” which could include Defendant J. Mills, the sole remaining named defendant. However, as discussed below, Defendant J. Mills has not been properly served, which could explain why Defendant J. Mills did not engage with Plaintiff.

         The Court was explicit in its January 10, 2017 Order that Plaintiff must file a Joint Status Report or face dismissal. Plaintiff did not file a Joint Status Report, so dismissal for failure to prosecute would be proper. The Court need not dismiss the case for failure to prosecute, however, because the case should be dismissed for defective service of process as to Defendant J. Mills, who is the sole remaining defendant. See below.

         (2) Service of Process of J. Mills.

         The January 10, 2017 Order stated:

To avoid dismissal, by that date [of February 6, 2017], Plaintiff should: (1) Properly serve Officer J. Mills of the University Place Police Department with a copy of the summons and Amended Complaint (Dkt. 4); and
(2) File proof of service with the Court, demonstrating compliance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. Plaintiff should not herself effectuate service of process. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(c)(1)(2).

         Dkt. 41 at 5 (emphasis added). The Court based its January 10, 2017 Order in part on Defendant City of Lakewood attorney's declaration, which attached two exhibits: (1) a police report written by “Joshua Mills” of “University Place Police” written about Plaintiff, and (2) a “true and correct copy of Officer Joshua Mills' business card, given to Plaintiff on the date of her ...


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